Direct depolymerization of crystalline cellulose into water-soluble sugars by solvent-free ball milling was examined in the presence of a strongly acidic layered metal oxide, HNbMoO6, resulting in full conversion with 72 % yield of water-soluble sugars. Measurements by 13C cross-polarization magic angle spinning NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction revealed that amorphization of cellulose occurred rapidly within 10 min. Scanning electron microscopy equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray indicated that the substrate and the catalyst were well mixed during milling. The time course of the product distribution showed that most of the resultant water-soluble sugars were produced not by successive degradation of oligosaccharides but by direct depolymerization of cellulose chains. The products included glucose, mannose, and cello-oligomers, as well as anhydrosugars. Addition of small amounts of polar solvents increased the sugar yield, whereas further addition of water decreased the selectivity to anhydrosugars. Calculations of the mechanical energy required for the ball-milling process showed that 0.02 % was utilized for the chemical transformation under the conditions examined in this study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Science(all)